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And the most beutiful town in Sweden is…


In the Underrated cities-thread I thought I should add some Swedish cities, then I realised that it would be a long post so a new thread was probably a better idea. Anyway, the non profit organisation Arkitetupproret, that promote beautiful cities had a poll a few years ago to decide which town is the most beautiful in Sweden. Very non-scientific but I thought someone might be interested in the result.

The winner was as mentioned Sundsvall, on the northern coast. I was a bit surprised, but the certainly deserve the title due to the city centre, known as Stenstaden (The Stone Town). Like many swedish towns it was built mostly of wooden houses, and in 1888 most of the town was destroyed in a huge fire. After the fire the insurance companies insisted that it was rebuilt in stone, and there where many rich saw mill owners in the area that tried to outdo each other in building the most extravagant buildings. The result of the fire is hence that the city centre is filled with beautiful mostly art nouveau buildings.

In 2nd place: Visby
Close behind Sundsvall we find the town I thought would win. Known as "The city of roses and ruins" Visby has a beautiful medieval city centre, surrounded by a town wall built in the 12th and 13th century. The town also secured a spot on the Unesco world heritage list in 1995.

3rd place: Lund
Quite a bit behind, with around a third of Visby's votes we find Lund. Famous for its university and cathedral. The town centre is still very charming and gives the impression that not much has happened for the last centuries.

4th place: Karlskrona
Another Unesco world heritage, Karlskrona is lovely example of an old European naval town, located in the Blekinge archipelago.

5th place: Ystad
Another charming small town, almost a far south as you can go in Sweden. Made famous by Henning Mankell in the Wallander-novels, but much less dangerous in real life.

Those are the top five, a selection of other top 30, from north to south, that are worth a visit are:

  • Härnösand
  • Sala
  • Uppsala
  • Mariestad
  • Norrköping
  • Vadstena
  • Eksjö
  • Lysekil
  • Marstrand
  • Varberg
  • Falkenberg
  • Helsingborg
  • Simrishamn

The full list can be found here: (In Swedish).

And a town that should be on the list: Öregrund.

Posted by
6781 posts

This is a great reference for key destinations! Is the list going to be updated on a regular basis now, maybe an annual pronouncement of Most Beautiful Town, with a commensurate competition to beat out the competition? For now, congratulations to Sundsvall.

Posted by
5279 posts

I'm not sure there will be any new lists, but who knows?

Although in 2018 they had a poll to find the ugliest town in Sweden, where Borlänge narrowly beat Västerås.

Posted by
3089 posts

Thanks, Badger. I was already planning for Sundsvall and Härnösand for my next trip to Sweden, as one side of the family was from the area. Who knows when? I might add Norrköping as I'll be in that area as well (and my eye doctor is from there, LOL). This gives me some great planning ideas.

Posted by
57 posts

Thanks, Badger. Fascinating underrated choices.
A Swedish friend had suggested near Höganäs, Sweden, seeing Lars Vilks’ driftwood built towers in his self proclaimed nation Ladonia. Have you seen it?

Posted by
5279 posts

A Swedish friend had suggested near Höganäs, Sweden, seeing Lars
Vilks’ driftwood built towers in his self proclaimed nation Ladonia.
Have you seen it?

I've never been there unfortunately, but it is a place I really want to visit someday. An amazing sculpture in many ways.